Practical and awesome Human Body education is seriously missing from most public and private school curricula in the USA. Why?
Well, here’s something that remedies this in a small but effective way. We call it Human Body School.
Today’s blog is a kind of ‘dispatch from the edge’ of arts integrating exploration of our amazing human bodies.
Here’s a snapshot:
First, Second and Third grade classrooms gather ‘round a song about the five physical senses. The song is an affectionate ode to the senses. And yes, they know their senses superficially. But then we go into a question and answer journey:
Can a human navigate the world without their sense of sight?
Oh yes, they say. And we compassionately explore how a blind person gets around and what it might be like to have no sight.
Then, can you navigate the world without being able to hear?
We all go into the world of sound and vibration, and what the ears do. These questions also open up the fascinating world of the senses in other animals…elephants, dolphins, owls, cats, dogs… and also how our senses can compensate for each other.
Then, what about your senses of smell and taste? What’s it like to not have these? Can you get around?
Of course, they say, but the world would be flat and two dimensional according to reports of those who have experienced ‘olfactory blindness’. And, what is the difference between a dog’s nose or an elephant’s nose and human noses? And what about the subtle scents we are not conscious of? You could get around but you’d miss out on all the yummy stuff.
The exploration deepens. And everyone can relate.
Then, we ask the big one: What about your sense of ‘touch’, your sense of ‘feeling’? Could you navigate the world without this sense? There is a thoughtful pause and hesitation now.
No! You wouldn’t be able to feel anything! Gravity, pressure, temperature, movement, direction… You might feel like you’re floating in space. You could see, hear and smell where you’re going but you couldn’t feel the ground or the air or gravity….
And it goes on: You would not have a sense of your position in space (proprioception) and your body couldn’t tell you what’s going on inside (interoception); if you’re hungry, or too full, or if you are too cold or sore or if you have to pee or…. Yikes!!!
So perhaps the body’s extraordinary senses can be enhanced by our attention, exploration and care. Perhaps our sense of ‘touch’ is under-appreciated; or as one witty student suggested…Our sense of touch needs a hug!
As the song goes: “Thank you for the fizzy feeling on my skin, from my hands and my feet to my chinny chin chin…”